THE YOUNG POISONER'S HANDBOOK is a story about the real life killings of Graham Young, who poisons his family and co-workers. Completely without conscience, Young is portrayed as likeable, and the film is sympathetic to him, but the monstrosity of his acts and the darkness of his soul must not be overlooked in favor of the film's entertaining treatment.
In director Benjamin Ross’s first feature film, THE YOUNG POISONER’S HANDBOOK, Graham Young is a youth from North London, who in the 1970’s gained notoriety by poisoning his family and his co-workers. Brought up in a typical British middle-class home, Young’s obsession with poison starts when he purchases antimony at a local store. After a failed attempt at converting antimony into a diamond, he discovers more fatal uses for the compound. He laces his family’s tea with the poison and gives his mother chocolates with poison. Eventually, he is caught and sent to the top-security mental asylum. Even here, he displays his cunning wit by ensuring his rehabilitation with the resident psychiatrist through trickery. Released, he discovers thallium and fatally poisons eight of his co-workers. Graham Young died during his second imprisonment on August 22, 1990.
The film, despite its deviously dark theme of a young and intelligent psychopath, creates a likeable Young who is his own worst victim. He cannot control his quest for perfection, and devoid of compassion or conscience, he sees the people he poisons as guinea pigs for his “life’s work.” Despite the film’s point of view that Young’s gruesome acts are only in response to his own inner call of perfection, Graham Young is nothing less than evil.
(Pa, LLL, VVV, NN, D, B, M) Pagan worldview where boy kills for pure experimentation; 14 vulgarities, 7 profanities & 5 obscenities; some violence showing people vomiting, sister's eye poisoned, mother slowly dying from poisoning & her hair falling out; father & mother hitting son, man hanging himself to death & another similar attempted suicide, image of dead mother's face surfacing from toilet bowl & grabbing boy; photographs of nude women; social drinking; smoking; elements of morality as boy is imprisoned for his crimes; and, miscellaneous immorality with lying, implication that father reads pornographic magazines, murder, suicide, cheating, & revenge